Crawford County Housing Commission receives large housing rehabilitation grant
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Crawford County netted the largest pot of money earmarked to rehabilitate area housing from the State of Michigan.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) recently announced over $1 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program grants, which will allow home rehabilitation and repair projects to move forward across the state, according to a recent press release.
“These grants make a lasting difference in communities,” said Earl Poleski, executive director of MSHDA. “When the physical condition of housing improves for one homeowner, it tends to have a ripple effect that motivates surrounding home and businesses owners to renovate or repair their structures, too. This has a profound positive impact on neighborhoods and their residents.”
HOME is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that helps build, buy or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or ownership, often in partnership with local nonprofit groups. This is a flexible program that allows state and local governments to use HOME funds for grants, direct loans, loan guarantees, rental assistance, security deposits or other credit enhancements.
The Crawford County Housing Commission was awarded a $176,000 grant for homeowner rehabilitation.
Hannelore Dysinger, the housing program director for the Crawford County Housing Commission, said this was the first time that grants were awarded on a competitive basis. A total of 43 applications were submitted for the funding, with awards ranging from $60,000 to $176,000.
Dysinger said that having the City of Grayling designated as a Project Rising Tide community allowed the county housing agency to gain an advantage when it came to awarding the grants.
“Rising Tide is an initiative sponsored by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development that provides communities with the tools to design and build a solid planning, zoning and economic development foundation to attract new businesses and help existing employers to grow,” according to a recent press release.
The funding will be targeted at homes in the City of Grayling and Grayling Charter Township, where 55 percent of Crawford County’s population lives.
“I felt, because of all the economic development things that are going on in the county, that the township had to be included, plus I wanted to target as many people in Crawford County as I could,” Dysinger said.
In the past, MSHDA made regular allocations to counties in the state for housing rehabilitation projects through Community Development Block Grants. But due to federal housing cuts, those funds have been transferred to the oversight to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The funds are now being used for rehabilitation of large rental units and for rehabbing businesses where apartments are being placed on the upper level of the buildings.
“Lansing was really able to see the need in Crawford County in order for us to receive the money,” Dysinger said.
HOME funds are reserved for households at or below 80 percent of area median income, and repairs cannot exceed $40,000.
Based on historical data from the Crawford County Housing Commission, Dysinger figures the grant will fund up to 10 projects.
“I’m hoping that I can spread the dollars, and that I can assist the most people that I can,” she said. “That’s subject to change, because you never know when you get into these projects.”